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Posts tagged Ivona

Ouch! Text to speech is also AWOL from this year’s Amazon Paperwhite
September 3, 2013 | 4:18 pm

Amazon PaperwhiteDrat! The newest Kindle Paperwhite E Ink reader from Amazon is still missing text to speech—among the features Jeff Bezos touted when he unveiled the second Kindle in 2009. Doubt me? Just look at the Paperwhite users guide and see what’s AWOL. Click here for a better view, with a list of not-overlooked improvements in the newer Paperwhite model. It’s to start shipping Sept. 30. Like the first Paperwhite, the basic version will sell for $119 and up, and supposedly the newer PWs will offer “higher contrast” between text and background. I found last year’s Paperwhites to be still somewhat lacking in contrast despite a noticeable improvement over earlier models. On...

Custom Book Scanning: Worth it for those books you just can’t find in e-format
August 1, 2013 | 9:15 pm

Custom Book ScanningI know lots of e-book readers who virtually stop reading paper books once they discover e-books. I'm one of them. We recently sold/gave away more than half of our paper book collection. Basically we kept the hardcover books that look good on the shelf. But that leaves the question of how to replace beloved favorites. Some can be repurchased as e-books, and I've certainly done my share of that. However, as you know, publishers haven't released their entire backlist, which can leave you stuck. Of course, you could scan them yourself, and I know people who do that. But that's way...

Review: Voice Dream Reader e-reading app
May 13, 2013 | 11:49 am

Voice DreamNote: An update of this post on focuses on education-related issues of read-aloud apps. A Catch-22 dogs those of us who most often read e-books visually but also want to hear them when we’re exercising or driving. The usual e-bookware doesn’t always come with or work with text to speech capabilities. Even if it does, we can’t control the aural part as closely as we’d prefer. I myself like the Moon+ Reader Pro Android app, and I’m in love with the added-on “Amy” voice, a British-accented delight from another developer, Ivona, now an arm of Amazon. But I can’t revisit already-viewed text quickly enough while I’m hearing audio by...

Setting up Moon+ Reader for Text-to-Speech Using Ivona
April 30, 2013 | 1:15 pm

Moon+ ReaderI was presenting at a seminar last week, and someone came up to me afterwards and said he'd bought my book and was enjoying it. His only complaint was that the Kindle for Android app didn't support text to speech, and he wished he could listen to my book while he was driving. "No problem," I told him. "Ivona and Moon+ Reader." My books are all DRM-free, so it was easy for him to download the file and open it in Moon+ Reader. If you want to try this trick at home with different books, you may need to first remove DRM. I've...

Is Amazon’s Acquisition of Ivona good or bad for disabled e-library users?
January 24, 2013 | 3:45 pm

Well, guess which Seattle-based  megaconglomerate has just bought Ivona Software (Web site here, Wikipedia entry here)—perhaps the world’s best provider of text to speech to use with e-books and other texts? That’s right, Amazon. It’s already using an Ivona voice in the Kindle Fire, and Ivona tech is also powering “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch.” Too bad those features aren’t available on the Paperwhite so far. Deliberate intra-brand market segmentation? Stinks either way. At any rate, even now, you can see Jeff Bezos’ corporate branding on the Ivona site. It’s too early to know how this will shake out for library users with disabilities and for other...

Amazon Acquires IVONA Software
January 24, 2013 | 10:22 am

This probably won't come as too big of a surprise, but it was just announced this morning that Amazon has (finally!) acquired the 10-year-old text-to-speech software company IVONA Software for an undisclosed sum. (Not quite as exciting as the Zappos acquisition, but still ... ) The company currently offers voice and language proficiency in 44 voices and in 17 languages; it's already utilized by Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. Aside from its text-to-speech capabilities, IVONA also provides the ‘Voice Guide’ and ‘Explore by Touch’ features for the Kindle Fire. “IVONA’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use," said Dave Limp, VP, Amazon...

How I turned my Kindle Fire HD from a cash register and billboard into a good machine for an e-book lover
September 16, 2012 | 10:37 am

menckenH.L. Mencken, the American iconoclast, depicted Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Could the same idea apply to the killjoys at Amazon who so cruelly made the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire HD less of an e-book machine and more of a billboard and cash register? Granted, many readers might not object because the Web has inured them to obnoxious huckstery of just the kind that H.L. hated. And they won’t miss the apps now AWOL from the Fire’s marketplace, such as the OverDrive software to read free e-books from libraries, because they never used them in the first place. But I myself do care. Unless the...

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